Episode 131 The episode in which Guy gets challenged to a duel, with Auri Poso

Episode 131 The episode in which Guy gets challenged to a duel, with Auri Poso

You can also support the show at Patreon.com/TheSwordGuy Patrons get access to the episode transcriptions as they are produced, the opportunity to suggest questions for upcoming guests, and even some outtakes from the interviews. Join us!

Auri Poso is a long time student of Guy’s and one of the first teachers he ever trained. Auri now runs her own school, the Gladiolus School of Arms in Helsinki/Espoo, Finland.

In our conversation we talk about Star Wars, which leads to a disagreement about Luke Skywalker needing a good slap. Whether lightsabers would be a suitable weapon to use in the ensuing duel between Guy and Auri causes another difference of opinion…

We also talk about returning to classes and teaching after an extended break to have children, the challenges of starting a school in a crowded market, taking a summer break to tour Europe’s sword schools, and using €1 million to set up an incredible historical martial arts centre.




Guy Windsor: I’m here today with Auri Poso, who is a long time student of mine and founder of the Gladiolus School of Arms in Espoo, which is next to Helsinki, for those who are not familiar with Finnish geography. So without further ado,


Auri Poso: I'm going to I'm going to interrupt you right there. Gladiolus is technically an Espoo school, but currently we trade in Helsinki, so you might want to rephrase that.


Guy Windsor: No, I'm just going to leave that in, because it sets a good example to my other guests who might feel a little bit intimidated and not feel they can just interrupt. But the fact that you just did it like that, this is good for everyone. Well, all right. So right now you’re training in Helsinki. But just to orient everybody whereabouts are you at the moment?


Auri Poso: Southern Finland, I am physically in Espoo right now.


Guy Windsor: Espoo is a giant city.


Auri Poso: It's the second largest city in Finland, which is not saying much, to be honest. But it's right next door to Helsinki.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. And you know you can go from Espoo to Helsinki in Helsinki to Espoo, but without actually noticing that you go into different cities. It is all one great big splodge.


Auri Poso: Well, yeah, I think so. People in Helsinki might disagree. Espoo has a certain reputation.


Guy Windsor: Yes. Of being full of annoying Swedish people.


Auri Poso: Yes. Being full of annoying rich people. We are not all rich, myself included.


Guy Windsor: Aren’t there quite a lot of Swedes over there? I mean, isn't it a bit close to the Swedish border? I mean, it is getting a bit far west.


Auri Poso: Not really. I mean, that would be Kauniainen or Grankulla, which is right in the middle of Espoo, weirdly enough.


Guy Windsor: It’s a different city.


Auri Poso: It’s a separate town. Yes.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Yes. Finnish geography is very confusing. And as for people who haven't been there, you've got to watch out for the Swedes and the Russians because you turn left, you get Sweden, turn right, you get Russia. And either one of those could be a disaster.


Auri Poso: Also don't believe Guy, when he says that.


Guy Windsor: Yes that’s fair. All right. Now, I personally know how you got into historical martial arts because I was there when it happened but there's probably some bits of the story that I'm missing and I ask the questions for the benefit of the listeners. So I'll ask about that. So how did you get into historical martial arts?


Auri Poso: Well, there's several right answers to that. I mean, one is that I really like swords. Historical martial arts, historical European martial arts is so much more than swords but swords are where it's at for me. Who doesn't like swords?


Guy Windsor: Nobody listening to this show dislikes swords or they wouldn't be here.


Auri Poso: Exactly. So another answer is that I saw Star Wars at an impressionable age. But do I like swords because of that or did I like that because of the swords? I don't know.


Guy Windsor: So would you agree that Star Wars without lightsabers isn't Star Wars at all?


Auri Poso: I would totally agree with that. Yes.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. So Rogue One, great movie. Not really Star Wars. Solo, not a bad heist movie. Not really Star Wars.


Auri Poso: No, I'm not going to agree with you there.


Guy Windsor: But there’s no lightsabers. There's no lightsabers so how can it still be Star Wars if there are no lightsabers?


Auri Poso: But there are several different things, several parts about what makes a Star Wars film. Please don't let me get into this because I can take all day.


Guy Windsor: Go for it. Go for it. There are many Star Wars nerds listening. And you are a Star Wars nerd par excellence. So tell us what you think. We can always cut it out later if it goes in a useless direction.


Auri Poso: Okay, so you get good Star Wars when you get lightsabers, that I will totally agree with. But then there's the spaceships which honestly have got to be there. Then there's the droids. And the creatures. But none of it is really maybe the heart of Star Wars for me. It's more like it's this blend of fantasy and science fiction and the kind of dreaminess of it all.


Guy Windsor: Dreaminess?


Auri Poso: You know, like things aren't quite perfect and they don't quite match up. And the story itself is not awfully interesting as such, but when you're watching it, it's the best thing ever. Like, you know when you have a really good dream and then try to remember that. It was like, did I really just dream that? But that was a really crappy, stupid.


Guy Windsor: Is that how they got away with all these completely useless digressions that don’t go anywhere?


Auri Poso: Yeah, exactly. It's just the best thing when you're watching it and none of the great movies as movies. They're not art. It just happens to make my soul sing.


Guy Windsor: It is not art, it just happens to make my soul sing. But honestly, I think making your soul sing is pretty much the definition of art.


Auri Poso: I think art historians would take issue with that.


Guy Windsor: But historians are full of shit because, I mean, I went to this fantastic, fantastic art exhibition in Potsdam recently and it had an unbelievable collection of impressionists at the Bernini gallery or something in Potsdam. And they also had all of these they had a great big exhibition of abstract art in the 20th century, including what is the fellow called, the drizzle painter.


Auri Poso: That guy. Yeah, I know what you mean.


Guy Windsor: Pollock. Jackson Pollock. And a bunch of other people. And Rothko. And, you know, all that crowd. These canvases, people spend millions on them and as far as I'm concerned they are tedious is rubbish but art historians just go ape for it. And the same art historians might look at some of these impressionists that just blow my mind and are like, “eh, whatevs”.


Auri Poso: I mean, art is influenced by fashions and snobbery just like anything else.


Guy Windsor: Exactly. And I think then the ‘Star Wars isn’t art’ is entirely motivated by snobbery. I would say if it makes your soul sing, it’s art.


Auri Poso: There are also other things that make your soul sing. Sex makes your soul sing. Is that art?


Guy Windsor: It can be. Depends how well you do it.


Auri Poso: And on that note.


Guy Windsor: So. Okay, so, you’re positing this this theory that it could be a proper Star Wars movie without lightsabers.


Auri Poso: Yes, it can be a Star Wars movie. It can’t be a very good one. I mean, I kind of liked Rogue One. I didn't enjoy Solo so much.


Guy Windsor: Solo was definitely a boys movie. The whole thing is set up as a classic, this one is for the teenage boys.


Auri Poso: If you say so, I failed to see that myself. People keep saying that whole Star Wars is a boys’ game, and I never saw it.


Guy Windsor: Well, okay. My daughters, when Solo came out, they were about the right age to start going to the cinema to watch Star Wars movies. And I was going to go, absolutely. I said, well, I'm going to go watch this film, but if you would like to come, you can, but I want to make sure you actually like this sort of thing. So we will watch a Star Wars movie at home first, then you can decide whether you want to come or not. So we watched Return of the Jedi because that was my first Star Wars movie, and then they were like, yeah this is great and we watched Solo and they liked it, but they really perked up with the whole Star Wars thing when Ren shows up later on in the series.


Auri Poso: Okay.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. So once they had a female Jedi protagonist to root for, that's when they really got into it.


Auri Poso: Well, I mean, I agree. But then think about A New Hope. You've got Leah, and that is it.


Guy Windsor: Who mostly sits around being rescued. Yeah.


Auri Poso: Yeah. And I didn't appreciate how revolutionary a princess heroine Leia was at the time because I was four when the thing I didn't see for another ten years or eight years, rather. But it's just her. And I've never identified with Leia in any way, shape or form.


Guy Windsor: No. So who do you identify with in the Star Wars?


Auri Poso: Rey is my favourite. But I could never really figure out if I had a crush on Luke or whether I wanted to be him.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Auri Poso: This is not uncommon at all for female Star Wars fans.


Guy Windsor: Okay. See, I never really liked Luke that much because he was always a bit of a whiner.


Auri Poso: I'm just not going to listen to you now.


Guy Windsor: Did you ever listen to me, Auri?


Auri Poso: Occasionally.


Guy Windsor: So you like Luke. You don't think he's just a whining little biatch to who needs a good slap?


Auri Poso: No. Let's just leave it at that. Otherwise, I may have to challenge you to a duel when we next meet.


Guy Windsor: Well, that's all right for me. Yeah, that's fine. I get to pick the weapons if you challenge me of course.


Auri Poso: Okay? Yeah. What would you pick?


Guy Windsor: That's a good question. We'd have to make it fair.


Auri Poso: You are under no obligation to make it fair.


Guy Windsor: No, but I think honestly, I think the only sensible solution here would be lightsabers. Those polycarbonate lightsabers that you can really hit people with.


Auri Poso: Yeah. Okay. I mean, I suppose that we could duel with baguettes or water bottles, but that's not a weapon, Guy, it’s a toy.


Guy Windsor: Have you ever been hit by one? I mean, really?


Auri Poso: Well, I mean, in the sense of anything can be a weapon.


Guy Windsor: But these modern ones. Not the cheap, crappy ones you get in the toy shop. The ones that are made for things like the Sabre Legion and what have you. You can really hit people with those things.


Auri Poso: OK, you get two of those, I will fight you.


Guy Windsor: Okay, fair enough. All right. So if we ever have to duel. But if you disdain the lightsaber, I think it would probably then have to be longsword, wouldn’t it?


Auri Poso: I would agree.


Guy Windsor: Okay. All right. Fighting talk. Okay. So leaving Star Wars aside for the minute, you got into martial arts because you like swords and Star Wars was an influence and then we kind of went off on a Star Wars digression. What happened next?


Auri Poso: Yeah, I had a third answer for that, actually, and it's not really an answer to that because I'm a history nerd. I love the historical perspective. At the same time, because I understand his historical and philological research, I can understand the theory behind people's interpretations of historical martial arts, but honestly, it feels more like a coincidence. It's just putting my history knowledge to work. So if you're looking for a story of how I got into HEMA, which it wasn’t called back then.


Guy Windsor: I just asked the question, I mean, how you take it is up to you.


Auri Poso: So about six months after I saw my first Star Wars film, I went and talked my mum into signing me up for foil fencing lessons.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Auri Poso: And that was really not me. No, I am not one for sports.


Guy Windsor: You are not a foilist either. You are not a foilist. I was. I love foil, but not your thing.


Auri Poso: About ten, 15 years after that every time I would get drunk, I would get something long and start swishing it around like it was a sword.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. Reasonable.


Auri Poso: Yeah. I mean, as one does and I was about 29 or so when I finally decided that, okay, if I'm really going to do this every single time, then I might as well learn to do it properly. And if foil fencing is the only thing going in Finland, then that's what I'll do. If I can't do anything else. So I enter “miekkailu”, which is fencing in Finnish, Helsinki. And what comes up? Your school comes up. Swordschool.com. And I stared at the page and I thought, no, no, either I'm dreaming or this is just. Otherwise I'm just not understanding something. It says Helsinki, it says Jakomäki. That is not possible. And I just put it away and I thought, heck. And I came back to it a couple of days later. But it's the page is here. So I start clicking all the links and I know this guy, I met him at university.


Guy Windsor: That’s true.


Auri Poso: Yeah, maybe this actually is real. This is very weird, but maybe it's real, and the rest is history.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, that was like 2001 early 2002, maybe.


Auri Poso: It was one week before the school's first party, I think.


Guy Windsor: So before our first Christmas party, or birthday party?


Auri Poso: Yeah, the birthday party.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, the birthday party was middle of March. So that would have been late February, early March 2002. You just showed up and just, like, never left the salle for, like, four years.


Auri Poso: Yeah, well, I mean, apart from the fact that I broke my wrist about two or three weeks into it, you remember that?


Guy Windsor: I had forgotten, what happened?


Auri Poso: It was a work excursion downhill skiing, and I broke my right wrist and I came to the salle and said, is there anything that I can do? And you said, no, you go rest it and then come back. Yes, that is what you said. Now I know that you wouldn't say that now, but you told me to not do anything with that hand in case it just didn't work. Exactly.


Guy Windsor: To be fair, nowadays, I know enough to be able to adapt things. I would still say rest the wrist if it's broken. You need the bones to knit it before you put much wiggling about on there. But I would maybe got you to do stuff left handed now.


Auri Poso: Yeah, I could have still done, like, footwork and I could have sat and watched the class.


Guy Windsor: But honestly, most students wouldn't.


Auri Poso: Yeah. And you told me when I came back that you were absolutely certain of having seen the back of me.


Guy Windsor: Chance would be a fine thing. Okay. To be strictly honest, I don't actually remember much of this because there was a lot going on at the time.


Auri Poso: I'm not surprised. And like running my own school now, I can definitely see how things may have been a bit of a blur at that point.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Now, when your kids came along, you took an extended break from swords. And this is really common, because, you know, life happens and there are things that are more important than swords, like children. So it might be interesting for folks who are going through something similar. What was it like coming back after such a long time away, because you were out of the picture for about 15 years, was it? 14 years, something like that.


Auri Poso: Okay. Before I answer that, I'm just going to say something about that break. At the time you said to me take a break and then come back. Don't try to do both. I wish I had listened.


Guy Windsor: You mean I was actually right about something, Auri?


Auri Poso: You were right.


Guy Windsor: Oh my God, Auri just said “you were right”! I'm recording this, right? So I can take that little snippet and I could play it any time I like. Just writing down the time stamp here. Yes. There we go.


Auri Poso: But the thing is, I tried to do both for a while with the result that when I was at the salle or driving to the salle, I cried because I wasn't at home. And then when I was at home, I was crying because I wasn't at the salle. So don't do that to yourself if you're going to have a child. Just have that child and remember that like two years, three years is not a long time in your life and just pick what you want and then stick with that. Now, this is like speaking from experience here, but yeah. Coming back. Well, I also have three answers to that because apparently I just love to talk. When it comes to the art of fencing. I never went away. I was always a person who does HEMA. Sure, there were long periods of time between classes, but inside my head I was always there. It was always part of me. What I did really come back to, though, was teaching. Now, I left classes at Jakomäki in 2003.


Guy Windsor: I have a feeling you may have been the first person to ever actually get a formal class leader qualification from me.


Auri Poso: Yeah. For certain values of formal. Yeah.


Guy Windsor: Yes. Because before that there were some students did lead classes for me when I was ill or away or whatever. But it was always because they had extensive prior martial arts experience and they had taught classes and stuff in other schools before. And so they were a safe pair of hands to leave the school to. But it took a while for me to get the teaching students how to teach and what not, that sort of process started. I have a suspicion you were the first person who ever actually got tested.


Auri Poso: I wasn't tested. I was kind of at the cusp of that. I was there a little bit before that became the more formal process that it became.


Guy Windsor: I seem to recall watching you teach a class on your own.


Auri Poso: You had some elements of it. You were watching me do it. You were quizzing me on it. You gave me assignments like create a class to go from A to B. And then I got lost and went into X and I came over and said, Guy, this isn't happening. But yeah, I mean, you were kind of working out the process at the time.


Guy Windsor: I think you probably were. This is 2003. Okay. So you came back to teaching.


Auri Poso: Yeah. Having led the classes, I missed that. I kept coming back to training occasionally, but I never led a class again before my own school.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, because you were too out of practise.


Auri Poso: Exactly. But that first time that I stepped out in front of a class in 2021, sword in hand, called out “en garde”. That was like coming home. Coming back to being myself.


Guy Windsor: That's how I felt. That is exactly how I felt when I was back in front of the class for the first time after Covid. It's like, fucking hell, where have I been?


Auri Poso: Yeah. And I mean, yes, you say that I was out of practise. I was. I still am, but getting back there.


Guy Windsor: It’s a different thing, leading a class for my students in my school. There's a reasonable expectation that you’re current with how things have changed in the previous six months or what have you and if you've been changing nappies and doing kid stuff in that time, you'll be maybe six months out of date. And at that time the interpretation was and the way we were training was changing all the time. It's a lot more stable now, but it was changing really fast. But now, as the person in charge, people are showing up to Auri’s class and whatever I Auri says is Auri’s class. And so there isn't that same requirement to the current somebody else's interpretation.


Auri Poso: And the fact is that I was always, I understand the principles, I always could. I might not have been able to make my muscles do it every time, but I knew how certain actions would have to be done. Why you would do them when you would do them. And I could tell this to people, I could not maybe tell them how to do first drill because first drill kept changing all the time.


Guy Windsor: To be fair, it hasn't changed at all in over a decade.


Auri Poso: So you say. You have different versions in the Swordschool school syllabus wiki than in your book written down.


Guy Windsor: Do I?


Auri Poso: Yes. Believe me. We have looked.


Guy Windsor: I need to check that because in my head they’re the same.


Auri Poso: I mean there isn't much difference but there is when you're kind of trying to figure out which is the canonical form that I'm going to teach these people so that when Guy comes over, he's not going to go, you changed it.


Guy Windsor: I would never say that. I would never say that, at least not in front of the other students. So you're running your own school, right? What's different? And what are you doing differently. So you got a chance to see me learning how to run my school. Because you got in very early. And we stayed in touch over the last 20 years. So you've also seen how it's developed. What do you do differently?


Auri Poso: Yeah. Mind you, as a student, I wasn't seeing you learn to run your school. I was just seeing you running your school. Which is a completely different thing. I was utterly unaware that you ever felt uncertain of yourself or anything like that, because that is what you do. You project confidence. You fake it till you make it.


Guy Windsor: Precisely.


Auri Poso: I always suspected you were very good at faking it. But I could never quite prove it.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Yes, fair.


Auri Poso: But since the early 2000s, I mean, times have changed, right? Everybody does things differently. I think that I'm gentler with my students.


Guy Windsor: So am I.


Auri Poso: A little bit less military.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, well, you came to my seminar last year, November last year. And it was not military at all, was it?


Auri Poso: No, no.


Guy Windsor: It was a lot more relaxed.


Auri Poso: Yeah. But I mean, most of the things that I'm doing differently is because I'm still a very new teacher and because I can't do this full time. So there's less of that scholarship and research. And I lean on work done by other people to figure out training exercises and principles. And the good news is that this exists now. This work exists now, which it didn't when you were starting, you had to figure it all out on your own. But I also don't really get to do that.


Guy Windsor: Do you want to do that? That sounded like regret to me. You owe it to your students to do the best possible job so there's all this stuff available and you need to use that because it will give your students a better experience in the short term. But it sounded a little bit like yeah but it would be kind of nice if it was complete terra incognita and I could just forge my own path.


Auri Poso: I mean, it would. It would. But I mean, I know that there are things that I could do right now, but I am doing what I can without burning out. And currently that means spending about an hour a week. No, wait, 2 hours a week, planning classes and writing up the reports on them, like writing them up so that people can check what we did. That's what I do for my students.


Guy Windsor: I never did that for my students. You are much nicer than me.


Auri Poso: Hey, that's one thing that I do differently. And also, maybe once a month, I'll get the opportunity to take two or 3 hours and just watch videos and look at materials and sources and, you know, read stuff. But that doesn't constitute research still.


Guy Windsor: It's a little light.


Auri Poso: Yeah. As long as I have a day job, that's all that I can squeeze out.


Guy Windsor: Is there any prospect of giving up the day job?


Auri Poso: No. I am not independently wealthy.


Guy Windsor: Well, neither was I when I started my school. But then, it was a very different field back then. Like there was nobody established in the field and in Finland there was no field. So I could get away with it. These days, I think to make a living at it, you either have to be in a fairly remote place where you are the only game in town or you need to be really experienced. So it is a lot harder now than it used to be in that sense, I think.


Auri Poso: Yeah, it might be. There aren't many greenfield places left, at this point, like in Finland. We've got like ten schools or something.


Guy Windsor: Rovaniemi? Ivalo?


Auri Poso: Well, I mean, the thing is there are more schools than there are students. Not literally, but like there aren't enough students for all the schools, I think, who want to be schools. I'm just reading Facebook groups and Reddit groups and whatnot and people post from areas that have a population density like the centre of Helsinki and they're like, okay, so I'm starting my own school. There's another school up the road and I'm just asking them for advice and they both do okay for membership. And I'm like, where are all these people coming from? And in Finland there are not that many people.


Guy Windsor: I don't know. I still have the experience of meeting someone who is interested in swords and has absolutely no idea that they can train in swords because historically martial arts exist as a thing, right? And I have a suspicion that there is an untapped vein of such people that is deeper and broader than we know. And we just have to find ways of reaching them.


Auri Poso: Yeah, I used to think that. I'm getting more cynical now after a year.


Guy Windsor: Well, but I’ve been doing this a really long time and I'm still like meeting people who are like, Oh my God, I had no idea. Oh, that's so cool. Do you run classes?


Auri Poso: But I mean, yeah, how many of those people ever turn up for class? Not many.


Guy Windsor: True. I don't know. I just think that there's a lot more, what's the word? Things are a lot more siloed these days. Because, it's not we're all watching the same three TV channels and therefore, everyone knows what happened in such and such a sitcom last night because everyone was watching the same sitcom. Now you've got Netflix and all these other streaming services and individual shows have tend to have a very defined, dedicated audience that know everything about them. But people living in the same house as one of these fans has never watched a single episode. So because of that kind of siloing, I think people are getting less good at looking outside the things. If you put fencing into a search engine now, I don't know whether you'd get my school popping up, even in Helsinki. Because there's just so many. Oh, you're about to do it aren’t you?


Auri Poso: I'm about to do it. If I put in HEMA Helsinki, you get to EHMS first.


Guy Windsor: Oh, yeah, fine. But hang on. Not HEMA, because HEMA is a technical term that people who don't know about it don't know. To most people, to the majority of the human population who have a meaning for the word, HEMA is either the beginning of something medical or it's a Danish or Swedish department store.


Auri Poso: Okay. When I go “miekkailu Helsinki”, which is the same phrase that I used way back when, EHMS is still result number five. Right before SHMS, which is Swordschool these days.


Guy Windsor: No, SHMS is the association of my students in Helsinki. Swordschool is the umbrella. Swordschool is Guy’s stuff and SHMS is the folk in Jakomäki who are still using the salle.


Auri Poso: I know, I know this. For everybody else in Finland it’s still Guy Windsor's old school.


Guy Windsor: Fair enough. Most listeners aren’t in Finland, so I'm just making sure they understand what is going on. So I think that there is a market there, I really do. Let me give you an example. In January this year, this chap I know who's good at such things put together some Facebook ads for me, running ads to the e-book of Medieval Longsword. 500 people in a month went and got the e-book. Five hundred. And most of those people, I am pretty sure, you can't be certain because data and complicated technical shit I don’t know anything about. But most of those people were not practising historical martial arts before.


Auri Poso: Yeah. There are things to be done through marketing and SEO and stuff like that. But yeah.


Guy Windsor: Speaking of SEO, do you know why we have transcriptions on the podcast? The reason that I decided it was worth paying somebody to do it.


Auri Poso: So that you can have content that that is searchable.


Guy Windsor: It puts about 8000 words of relevant content up on the website every week.


Auri Poso: Yeah, I know. I'm in marketing, now. This is literally what I do.


Guy Windsor: You're in marketing.


Auri Poso: I'm a technical copywriter. I used to be a technical writer.


Guy Windsor: That's what I thought. Okay, but you're a technical copywriter now?


Auri Poso: You got my title correct, but you just got wrong what is that I actually do these days.


Guy Windsor: In the in the question that I sent you. When I say you're a technical copywriter by profession. Yeah. I just copied that shit off LinkedIn. I didn't really think about it very much. Because I remember the very first time we met was in like 1994 when I was an exchange student in Helsinki, and you were doing English and I was in English department as well. And then, do I remember rightly, you've got credit. I've got to check it, because otherwise it would be awkward. You definitely get credit in The Swordsmans Companion for something. Was it the call outs? But I seem to remember you also took a look at an early draft.


Auri Poso: I did. And then I gave you comments and you ignored most of them.


Guy Windsor: Did I?


Auri Poso: Yes.


Guy Windsor: Really? The book did really well, so obviously I was right to do so.


Auri Poso: I'm still a bit salty about that.


Guy Windsor: Clearly, this is nearly twenty years ago.


Auri Poso: It could have been a clearer book. But, you know.


Guy Windsor: Okay. All right. All right. So seeing as I obviously touched a nerve. Tell me. What should I have done differently?


Auri Poso: Bullet lists would have been good. Less rambling sentences would be good. A proper index would be good.


Guy Windsor: Okay. The problem with indexes is they are expensive. You have to pay somebody to do it.


Auri Poso: They're not expensive if you have a technical writer friend who is willing to do them.


Guy Windsor: Auri. I have a back list this big that could all use indexing. Would you be interested?


Auri Poso: How much are you willing to pay me?


Guy Windsor: You see! I said they're expensive.


Auri Poso: I might not be quite as expensive as some indexers, but I do know what I'm doing with indexes.


Guy Windsor: Fair enough. All right. Rambling sentences. I need an index, but I'm not willing to pay for one because I'm a cheapskate. To be fair, I pay for editing, I pay for a layout. I pay for a cover design. There's not much budget left to paying for things that aren't strictly necessary.


Auri Poso: For whom?


Guy Windsor: For anyone.


Auri Poso: I mean, if you have a physical book that you can't search, you can't press control F. It is very difficult to do without an index where you can find where something is spoken.


Guy Windsor: Well, most people buy books on Amazon, right? On Amazon, when you buy the paperback or hardback of any of my books if there's an e-book available, I've toggled the widget, so you should be able to get an e-book for free, which means you have a searchable version to go with the physical version.


Auri Poso: And that is excellent.


Guy Windsor: Yes. But still, you think I should pay you to do indexes in my books? Yeah. There we go. Okay. So anything else you'd like to moan about with my books?


Auri Poso: I will provide you with a commentary if you really want to. But I think I’ve moaned enough now.


Guy Windsor: Honestly, honestly, that book came out in 2004 I did a second edition in like 2009 or something or 2012 I can't remember and I'm probably never going to touch it again because it's old.


Auri Poso: Yes. Let's just leave sleeping things alone.


Guy Windsor: All right. So you definitely know how to write. So my question then is, is there a book coming out?


Auri Poso: No, no, I don't have anything of my own to say yet. See, also, no time for research. I don't have the time. And I also don't write a book just so that I can write a book.


Guy Windsor: No, of course not. You write a book to get rich and famous, obviously. It doesn't work for most people. I write a book because this there's something I am studying and I need to write a book to organise my thoughts on the subject. That's what I do it for, fundamentally.


Auri Poso: So yeah, I don't mean to write a book for that. I was toying with the idea of doing something like, tiktoks or whatever. But then younger people have got there before me and just learning that is.


Guy Windsor: Why would you make a bunch of content for somebody else to make money off?


Auri Poso: Isn't that what writing books is about?


Guy Windsor: No, no, no. Well, I don't. Other people don't tend to make money off my books. If anyone's making money off my books, it tends to be me because these days I publish them myself. But even if you're making videos or whatever, sticking them on YouTube or TikTok other people, rich American or Chinese tech people make money off your stuff and you really don't unless you are unbelievably famous.


Auri Poso: Well, I mean. Yeah, but honestly, I don't write books to make money. That is not a reason for me to write a book. I would create content to tell people about something that I've thought up and I haven't thought up anything yet.


Guy Windsor: Have you not?


Auri Poso: Well, a few things, but not a book’s worth, certainly.


Guy Windsor: Okay, well, it just occurs to me. I'm not quite sure what I'm trying to persuade you to write a book, but I think it's because I've got it in the back of my head that you really ought to have a book in your house which has your name on the cover. I don't know. I just think that would be sensible for you, but it doesn't necessarily have to be pedagogical. It could be example, memoir or fiction.


Auri Poso: Well, I mean, the fiction thing, I definitely tried.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Did you publish anything?


Auri Poso: No. No. I write fanfic. Which is terrible. The last time that I decided that, yes, I'm now going to actually prioritise my writing. I'm going to learn this as a craft because it's something I keep doing anyway. And I managed to publish a couple of short stories and kind of really get into it. And then suddenly I kind of looked aside and there was fanfic. And I wrote a little bit of fanfic and then I wrote a little bit more fanfic, and before I knew it, it was 270,000 words of fanfic. Nothing that I could publish.


Guy Windsor: No, but you could do an E.L. James because her 50 Shades stuff is all Twilight fan fiction. She just changed the names and cut out some of the vampire stuff.


Auri Poso: I know. I know that.


Guy Windsor: She made a lot of money. And she also made a lot of people happy. Most of the people, I think she made happy, probably didn't actually read most of the book. They probably just skipped to the interesting bits. But because the books are a terrible.


Auri Poso: Yes, yes. Well, the world doesn't need more terrible books.


Guy Windsor: No. But clearly, fan fiction can be a starting point to a writing career.


Auri Poso: This is true. This is true. But still, no.


Guy Windsor: That's a no. Auri has decided, no books for her. No, definitely not. Fair enough. Okay. I guess if you’ve got a full time job and two kids and a school to run, there's not a lot of time left for writing books.


Auri Poso: No, no. I need two weeks of complete downtime before any ideas will start to form in my head. And two weeks of full downtime is just not happening.


Guy Windsor: No, fair enough. It's funny, I find that I need the downtime to get the ideas coming in, but my downtime looks a lot like work. Well, I’m likely to get my best idea for the next project when I'm woodworking, for instance. So I'm in the middle of planing a bit of wood and I go, oh, and dash in to my office and write something on the whiteboard and then go, okay, fine, I'll work on that later and then get back to the woodwork. And then come back and there’s this thing on the whiteboard. It's like, Oh yeah, okay, maybe I should start this thing.


Auri Poso: But it also means like you have the downtime and then you have the time to actually work on that project.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, it really it really helps if you don't have a day job. I think the best thing I ever did is decide to not have a day job. It wasn’t a good financial decision. But it was good in every other respect.


Auri Poso: Yeah, I’ve done the maths and there is no way that that is happening. I honestly don't know what the heck you were eating when you didn't have a job and you were just teaching. And I can only assume that you had enough students to both cover the rent or the payments on the salle and then also your own living expenses.


Guy Windsor: Erm… There were times when there were enough students to cover everything. No, it was tricky because basically my girlfriend at the time, she was a student finishing up her degree. So she had no money. But we would go round to her parents and have proper food a couple times a month. That helped. And I guess, you know, we just got used to living off not much money. Not really that much money at all.


Auri Poso: Yeah. This is different when you're 25, 30 years old.


Guy Windsor: Yes. And have no children. Very different. I was 26 when I came over to Finland. No, 27 when I came to Finland and opened the school and no dependents. So it didn't matter that we had no money for holidays or wine or the essentials in life. But the school did eventually pick up and started to produce a liveable income. Kind of. If by liveable you mean you can pay the rent on your flat and you can feed yourself. But like most of the things I wanted to do, like going to the States, for instance, and running a seminar or whatever, other people would pay me to do. Let's say what I wanted is somebody to come over. Basically, I wanted to train with someone, Sean Hayes for instance. Rather than me flying over to America and staying with Sean for a week. And we’d do training and stuff and then I go home again. We would organise a seminar in Helsinki. Sean would fly to Helsinki. The seminar would pay for his expenses and some money as well, wages, as it were, and then we'd have all the extra time around the seminar for the training and whatnot. So it was basically getting the students to pay for everything I wanted to do because it was all sword related anyway. But yeah, it's not terribly practical for someone who's actually a grown up with a mortgage and a kids and all that sort of thing.


Auri Poso: But, you know, retirement's coming, so.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. The kids just about enough to leave home aren’t they? I know Venla is.


Auri Poso: Yeah. Here’s hoping. Yes. Sanna is two years younger, but.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. You're getting close. You're getting close. I am seriously not looking forward to my little ones leaving the house. Leaving the nest, flying the nest. Grace is going to be 16 in February, which is a horrifying thought. Katriina’s going to be 14 in December, which is even worse. We are less than five years away from both my children being adults. Horrible thought. But, you know.


Auri Poso: I was about at that stage when I realised that it might only be ten more years before I was a grandparent.


Guy Windsor: Oh, Jesus. But mind you, I've been telling my kids since forever that they should have children as soon as possible because their parents want to be grandparents. And them having children is the only way for that to happen. So they really need to get on with it. I’ve been telling them that since they were like four.


Auri Poso: I'm sure they're so grateful.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, I don't know, maybe not. Okay, so I know you're super busy with various things. Your school and job and kids and family, but what is the best idea you haven’t acted on?


Auri Poso: Well, last summer we did training through the summer. And I mean that was fine and I mean it was hot and really quite annoying at times, but the attendance was pretty low and next year we're thinking of just not doing that, maybe, just having a rest, to be honest also However, I would like to do something different. Gladiolus roadshow. Rent a car, a bunch of swords and protective gear and tour Finland giving courses, attending other people's classes, just going around. The classes happen, they’re just not in Helsinki. That would be so cool.


Guy Windsor: That’s a great idea. So you pile a bunch of gear into a car. Why rent a car, I thought you have a car.


Auri Poso: Well, I think that the family is going to need the car while I’m gone.


Guy Windsor: I don’t know, the public transport’s pretty good in Espoo.


Auri Poso: No it’s not. Public transport is good in Helsinki. It's not good in Espoo.


Guy Windsor: By British standards, public transport is pretty good in Espoo.


Auri Poso: Okay, I'll give you that.


Guy Windsor: I should've said that while you were drinking, I’m sorry. So where would you go in your car?


Auri Poso: All the other schools in Finland, basically.


Guy Windsor: Okay.


Auri Poso: And then I mean, of course, it would be nice to go to Central Europe, maybe even the UK, but I probably can't afford that.


Guy Windsor: It's a long way to drive.


Auri Poso: It is.


Guy Windsor: But then Estonia is 3 hours away by ferry. So that's totally doable. And from Estonia you could wiggle down through Latvia and the Czech Republic and maybe go off into Germany.


Auri Poso: Or catch a boat straight to Germany. That's an overnight.


Guy Windsor: Yeah. When I moved to Finland, we took a ferry from Newcastle to Gothenburg and then drove from Gothenburg to Stockholm and then took the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. So I wanted to bring my car because I had all of my sword stuff in it. So I think you could just do that. And these days in Sweden, there's a whole bunch of schools you could go to on the way. So you could, if you wanted to do a big loop around Finland and then take a ferry across to Sweden, go round Sweden and then take a ferry to the UK. Skip those bloody continentals altogether. Although, there's nice places to go in Europe.


Auri Poso: Yeah.


Guy Windsor: So do you think you might do this?


Auri Poso: Maybe. I hope so. Probably not. But we'll see. I mean, I'm sure that there's going to be another pandemic or a war or, I don't know, a meteor is going to strike because that's the way that the world seems to be these days.


Guy Windsor: You're a natural born optimist, aren’t you?


Auri Poso: Yes, I revel in it.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So the best idea you haven’t acted on yet is fill the car with swords and just basically tour all the schools giving classes, taking classes, fencing people. That actually sounds like a really good idea.


Auri Poso: Yep. I agree.


Guy Windsor: Would you take anybody with you?


Auri Poso: Um. If somebody wants to come, sure. But I don't know. We'll see. Maybe Heikki could join me.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Does Heikki do swords anymore?


Auri Poso: He's been to a few classes, yeah.


Guy Windsor: So your husband shows up to your sword fighting classes?


Auri Poso: Yes.


Guy Windsor: Okay. There's absolutely no way in hell my wife would ever come to one of my sword fighting classes. I mean, she might watch one, but she would never actually attend one because there's just absolutely no way in hell she's ever taking orders from me.


Auri Poso: But it doesn't feel personal at that point.


Guy Windsor: No, one would hope not. So if you do come to Britain with your car full of swords, you should definitely take in Ipswich.


Auri Poso: Absolutely. I wouldn't miss it.


Guy Windsor: And then maybe we can have our lightsaber duel.


Auri Poso: Yes.


Guy Windsor: Okay. All right, my last question. Somebody gives you €1,000,000 or similar large sum of imaginary cash to spend improving historical martial arts worldwide. How would you spend it?


Auri Poso: Okay, this is local. It's not global. But I do think that it would benefit the whole community and promote the study and practise of the art. I would buy a whole big building. I have one scoped out. It's my old school and set it up as a HEMA research and practise facility. We'd have a couple of big training halls, a couple of small training halls, we'd have a library, a proper armoury, somewhere where people can buy weapons and gear. There'd be spaces for swordsmith, physical therapists, researchers. We'd have a conditioning space with training gear and targets and pells and wooden horses, everything. And it would be a place where all things HEMA and marginally related could come together and we could pool our skills and resources and interlace our disciplines.


Guy Windsor: Okay. That sounds like a plan. Whereabouts is this building you've scoped out?


Auri Poso: It is in Vuosaari. It's Eastern Helsinki.


Guy Windsor: Well, I'm very glad it is in Eastern Helsinki, because that's my end of town.


Auri Poso: They are also not selling that school.


Guy Windsor: Oh, okay. So I thought it was on the market. All right. Okay. Now, a friend of mine, Mikko from Lappeenranta, he has recently bought an old prison to turn into something like that. At least the last time I spoke to him which was just a little while ago. The problem is, it's in the middle of nowhere. But as a starting point for that idea you haven’t acted on, it might actually work. I mean, think about it. Pori Jazz Festival is world famous and people come from all over the world to go to the Pori Jazz Festival, and Pori is in the middle of fucking nowhere.


Auri Poso: Pori is a city.


Guy Windsor: In the middle of nowhere.


Auri Poso: And the festival is in the middle of the city.


Guy Windsor: Yes, but it's in the middle of nowhere.


Auri Poso: This prison that Mikko has.


Guy Windsor: It's not in the middle of the city. I think it’s an old prison. Maybe it’s an old barracks or something. It was definitely, shall we say. What's the word? It was not a normal sort of residential something. It was definitely sort of industrial, military.


Auri Poso: It's probably like its own area of sorts.


Guy Windsor: Yeah, and not in the middle of a city. If anyone is in Pori and listening to this episode and wants to take issue with what I just said about Pori, they are welcome to do so. There's nothing wrong with Pori, but it is a long way from anywhere. It's like four or 5 hours from Helsinki. Bloody miles away. But people go. So if the if the attraction is great enough, I mean, think of Burning Man. That's in the middle of the desert. That's maybe a better example. Thousands and thousands of people go to Burning Man.


Auri Poso: Yes. So we should have our own burning sword.


Guy Windsor: Yes. You could even call it the burning sword and have a picture of a burning sword. In fact, you could have a special sword that lights up like literally set light to it like a Christmas pudding.


Auri Poso: I have to send you those pictures. We took awesome pictures with fire, with friends, involving a flaming sword.


Guy Windsor: Okay, tell more. You set fire to a sword?


Auri Poso: Yeah. You get soap bubble liquid, and you pour that into water, and then you take butane and you kind of squirt it into the water.


Guy Windsor: Butane is like lighter fluid.


Auri Poso: Yes. And then you get foam that is filled with butane. And then you take the foam in your hand and you light it up and it goes woosh and it doesn't burn.


Guy Windsor: Okay. Okay. If anybody listening to this does that and sets fire to their house, it's not my fault because it wasn't me that said it. If you want to go after someone, go after Auri. That does sound like a bloody good idea, except maybe do it outside after it's rained so there's not dry grass everywhere.


Auri Poso: This is literally what we did. Yes.


Guy Windsor: Yes. Okay. And so did you put it on the sword and set light to it?


Auri Poso: Yeah, yeah. We set fire to it. Unfortunately, it's really hard to get that flame to kind of go on the whole length of the sword at once. So it tends to start at one end and then it kind of swooshes up.


Guy Windsor: That's no bad thing.


Auri Poso: There were a couple of nice pictures.


Guy Windsor: Okay. So you didn't like the sword in in rags and then cover that?


Auri Poso: No. It wasn't actually a real sword that we used. It was more or less, I mean, it was a giant icepick that was accidentally shaped like a sword. You're going to have to ask Mikko Mikkanen the full story on that. But it wasn't a real sword, because I would not.


Guy Windsor: Well, honestly, I don’t think you would do much damage because it's going to burn a pretty low temperature.


Auri Poso: Yeah, I know, but I wouldn't take that chance anyway.


Guy Windsor: Okay. No, not with a nice sword anyway. Okay. So your centre for historical martial arts research and practise, do you to have a name for it?


Auri Poso: No. No. Oddly enough, I haven't really been giving that much thought.


Guy Windsor: Okay, do you think you might end up actually being involved with something like that?


Auri Poso: I would if I had the money.


Guy Windsor: Well you’ve got two kidneys, sell one.


Auri Poso: I have not got two kidneys. I have one.


Guy Windsor: Oh, beg pardon, I didn't know. In which case scratch my previous remark. Okay. So you could sell a lung, maybe. There’s not a good market for lungs. And you probably need them for the training. So I'm just trying to think of some way that you could reasonably raise a big pile of cash. I know, you should write that damn book and make millions off it.


Auri Poso: Oh, that's a brilliant idea. I'll get right on that.


Guy Windsor: Excellent. Good. Okay, so you have a library. You have a smithy. You have an armoury and a place where people can buy equipment, training halls and whatnot. Do you see it as having regular classes there like, it's basically like the home of various historical swordfighting schools or is it one school?


Auri Poso: I would think that one regular school. And then that's why I say a couple of big training halls so that other people can rent space to come and give classes even if they haven't got their own school.


Guy Windsor: Do you know, it's funny. I was actually at the point of talking to members of Ipswich Town Council about creating a training space in martial arts in Ipswich because lots of the martial arts schools get really bad terms from really not very good facilities and particularly places that do like judo, jiu jitsu, whatever, they put the mats out before every class put them away afterwards because maybe there's rollerskating happening next or whatever. So I was thinking, get a space. And there are plenty of spaces that would do. And if you look at it in terms of how much it costs per month, it would be relatively easy even renting a space, it would be relatively easy to get enough people in. Like if I get this judo club and that jujitsu club and this sword club or whatever, and they have the right sort of facilities there for them. Relatively easy, then paying the same amount that they're paying already. There was more than enough to cover the rent on these places. And it was it was coming along nicely and obviously I would start its own company for that because it’s a separate set of risks and what have you. And you know, I'd got some people interested and this was the end of 2019 and things are just starting to get moving. And then. And then. And honestly, the pandemic basically destroyed my appetite for taking risks on property like that. It's just too risky because if you have a landlord who's not like me. Basically if the landlord isn't into it for their own reasons, then when things like pandemics happen, they want to get paid anyway. You still have access to the space. It's not our fault you haven’t’ got any students coming in, no clubs and making any money, you still owe us this much money. And if we'd done it, let's say I'd been six months earlier getting it done. And we found a space and created the company and rented the space and got clubs or whatever. That company would have gone bankrupt, no question. But I think it's a very good idea. I think maybe look also outside the historical martial arts thing because the previous interview I did. I'm not sure whether it’s going to come out before or after this one, Adam Franti. One of the things he said was he was going to spend his million basically arranging wrestling training and start the martial arts teachers because frankly, they could all use it. Well, many of them could use it, right? And he's not wrong. But if you train in a facility where there are judo teachers and jiu jitsu teachers and Greco-Roman wrestling teachers and whatever other arts you can think of, maybe an Escrima club and maybe a Japanese sword club as well, if you broaden the scope a little bit, I think it'll be really good for historical martial artists in general to train with and next to other arts.


Auri Poso: Yeah, sure.


Guy Windsor: And, maybe it shouldn't be in Ipswich. Maybe it should be in Helsinki.


Auri Poso: It should. Or even Espoo.


Guy Windsor: Oh, God, no. No, no, no. That's too far away. All righty. Well, thank you very much for joining me, Auri. It's been lovely talking to you.


Auri Poso: Thank you so much for having me. It's been fun.

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